Wrap Dress Sewalong: Sewing Details

McCall Pattern Company Wrap Dress Sewalong: sewing details

With my husband off at a conference this past weekend, I had a long stretch of time to sew my wrap dress while binge-watching TV (Transparent and Broad City). I think the only time I stepped out of the house the entire weekend was to walk the dog a few times. But sequestering myself paid off nicely, because the wrap dress is done save for the hem and it looks FABULOUS! I can’t wait for you to see it next week. In the meantime, I thought I’d share some of my dress’s sewing details. I’m sewing Vogue Patterns V8379.

McCall Pattern Company Wrap Dress Sewalong: bodice adjustment In this photo above you can see how I altered the bodice in two places. One, I lengthened it by an inch, because my niece has a long torso and I think this bodice is a little on the short side anyway. Two, instead of a separate front facing I created a folded self-facing, similar to the the real DVF dress I showed you here. I took the pattern facing piece and marked the seamline on the tissue, and then I marked the seamline on the bodice. Matching seamlines at the bodice front edge, I traced the facing on tracing paper and then taped it to the bodice; then I cut the bodice as one pattern piece with a self facing that folds to the inside. Sounds complicated but it was remarkably easy to do.

McCall Pattern Company Wrap Dress Sewalong: neck facing Above, the bodice self-facing and the neck facing. Order of construction if you make a self facing like this: 1. Stitch shoulder seams. Do not stitch self-facing as part of shoulder seam. 2. Stitch neck facing to back neck edge. (Finish facing edge as you normally do.) Trim seamline and understitch. 3. Turn self-facing to inside at fold line (the former seam line in the original pattern). Baste or pin in place at shoulder seam. 4. Fold under the seam allowance on the short ends of the neck facing; trim seamline to eliminate bulk. 5. Hand-stitch the neck facing in place at the shoulder seam so the self-facing and the neck facing meet neatly; tack in place in the shoulder seam to keep the facing from rolling out. McCall Pattern Company Wrap Dress Sewalong: shoulder seam
In this photo above you can see the facing and shoulder seam area. I did stabilize the shoulder seam with clear elastic, but I screwed up and sewed it to the top part of the seam rather than placing it on the underside of the seam where it wouldn’t be seen or felt by the wearer. You can also see here that I did not use my serger on the seams but chose to double-stitch the seams instead. Either type of seam finish is acceptable with knits.

McCall Pattern Company Wrap Dress Sewalong:
The downside of using a self-facing is that you can no longer neatly insert your ties between the facing and the bodice. But this really isn’t much of a dilemma because the ties wrap around anyway and you don’t actually see the point where the tie is attached to the bodice. So I just folded the raw edge under and stitched it to the bodice, as above.

McCall Pattern Company Wrap Dress Sewalong: hole for tie beltWhat the inside of the tie opening looks like. I stitched the upper edge in place.

McCall Pattern Company Wrap Dress Sewalong: waist seam with elastic

Above, the waist seam. Here I was a smart girl and stitched the stabilizing clear elastic to the underside of the seam.

McCall Pattern Company Wrap Dress Sewalong: interfacing on front skirt facingThis photo shows how I gave substance to the front facings (skirt and bodice) by fusing a lightweight interfacing to them. Then I turned and stitched the edges of the facings for a finished appearance.

McCall Pattern Company Wrap Dress Sewalong: sleeve with added bandI wanted to have the sleeve end in a foldover band rather than cuff like we show in the pattern. This is really simple to do. Just determine how wide you want your cuff to be when folded. My width from folded edge of cuff to the seamline where it’s attached to the sleeve is 2 inches. For example, if you want a cuff that’s 2 inches wide like mine, you cut two pieces that are 4.5″ (includes 1/4″ seam allowance) x width of lower sleeve. Look at the photo above and hopefully this is more clear.

McCall Pattern Company Wrap Dress Sewalong: inside view of cuffHere’s what the attached cuff looks like. I stitched one side to the lower sleeve edge, folded it in half, turned the edge under, then hand-stitched it in place.

McCall Pattern Company Wrap Dress Sewalong: bodice and sleeve viewA little glimpse of how it looks so far. Like I said earlier, the only thing left to do is the hem. I’ll probably serge the skirt edge and hem in place by hand.

Next week: The big reveal! Where do you stand with your wrap dress?!

We’ve been sewing since 1863.

  1. love the pictures. I’ve not even started. but this is a great help and glad it will be here when I get to mine. Love it..

  2. I love the fabric! I love the adjustments that you have made with your dress. I will use your recommendations on the next one (I will be making more this summer) I am almost done with mine. I will post more pics tonight and tomorrow.

  3. Beautiful fabric! Although my muslin fits nicely I’m not going to make it in time. I originally planned a lot of sewing for next weekend, as in only leaving the house to walk the dog 😉 but overlooked the fact that it’s Easter. Not going to happen!

  4. Mine is getting close:) I’m hoping to get it finished & photographed one evening this week.

  5. My dress is finished, wrapped it up Saturday (no pun intended). Waiting for warm weather Thursday to take pictures! This was fun, it helped motivate my sewing, having a goal date.

  6. I can already tell, this dress is going to look fabulous!!!!

  7. I love your inside detail it looks ready to wear. I had finished my dress and ended up making a change to the collar. My first time wearing it will be this Friday, ill take pictures then for the big reveal next week.

  8. Really nice that you added the same touches as the DVF version .This gave my confidence to do that to my own dress .. I should be done in time..
    Happy sewing everyone

  9. Hi Meg, thank you for showing the details. I have a question about how you applied the clear elastic to the seams. I can see that there is a zig zag stitch down the center of the clear elastic, in addition to the double seaming on the garment. Did you apply the elastic to one piece of the shoulder & waist first to stabilize, and then sew seams together with the double stitching? If it was applied first, did you also catch it in the straight stitch seaming, or stitch on either side of the clear elastic? Also, what technique did you use for your double stitches, gently stretch the fabric as you sewed or did you use a slight zig zag. I’ve been trying different stitches, but haven’t chosen one yet. Thank you!

    1. Hi Susan! 1) I stitched the seam first, then zig zagged the elastic through both layers, then stitched 1/4″ away from the seam. 2) I used a straight stitch about 2.8mm. On the straight vertical seams I did not stretch as I sewed. On horizontal seams like the waist and shoulders I very slightly stretched.

      Hope this helps!

  10. Hi Meg, I’m about half-way through my wrap dress (my first stretch fabric sewing project ever) and it’s challenging. I do not have a double stitch on my Bernina and am still trying to find the right stitch to replace it. I’m using a light viscose jersey fabric, which I realize is probably not stable enough for my pattern, Butterick 6054 (Maggy London). It’s very difficult to handle. I suspect this dress will end up being my ‘experimental dress’ for my next attempt. I like the look of the fabric you have used. Can you tell me what kind of fabric it is? It looks more stable and probably somewhat easier to work with than mine is. Also, have you used double seams on all your seams and then where needed, you added elastic with a zig zag stitch as explained above? What stitch did you use where darts were needed (if any)? Also, re. your point 2 above: Are you saying that after doing the zig zag on the elastic you added another straight (‘normal’) stitch of 2.8mm along the elastic 1/4″ away from the seam? I can’t make out this straight seam in the photo so that’s why I’m asking and also wondering why you add this seam. Is the zig zag stitch not enough? Thanks a bunch!

    1. Hi Elena! It used a lightweight ITY knit from Spandex House here in NYC. I have a Bernina and I just used a regular straight stitch. Use elastic to stabilize horizontal seams that will stretch, like the shoulder seams and the waist seam. No darts in my pattern but I would use a straight stitch. And yes to your last question. Zig zag is enough. That’s just me. Hope this helps!

  11. Thanks, Meg. I just looked up ITY knits and it’s interlock with a mix of rayon, polyester and lycra, probably resulting in a tighter knit than the viscose I’m using. Meg, just to be sure I understand: where did you use a regular straight stitch and where did you use the double stitch? I tried a straight stitch but there was absolutely no give so I opted for one called a “stretch seam open seam” but it causes a lot of ‘distortion’ in the seam. The closest stitch to a double stitch that I can find on my (26-year-old) Bernina is one called the “vari-overlock seam”. Maybe that would work. So it would be helpful to know where you used a double stitch (if at all) and where you used just a straight stitch. Many thanks again!

    1. Hi Elena, I have a Bernina and I was satisfied with using a plain old straight stitch everywhere. I think you may just need to experiment on a scrap. Wish I had a magic solution for you!

  12. Oh, cool! I think that probably the type of fabric used makes a huge difference. Next time I’ll search for some ITY knit. I’ll keep experimenting meanwhile. Thanks for the tips!

  13. Finished the bodice today, except for sleeve hems. It’s looking very good! Hope I can get the skirt done tonight.

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